E3 Archive

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Phil Spencer changes Kinect outlook

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When the Xbox One was originally debuted the Kinect was stressed as an integral part of the system and was required to even be able to run the console. However, after a year has passed and Stephen Elop has been replaced by Phil Spencer the outlook towards Kinect has been changed.

“This might seem backwards, but I believe the decision we made to allow people to buy Xbox One without Kinect included, in the end, will actually lead to more Kinects in the market,” he said. “I believe that you’ve got to sell the console before you can sell Kinect.”

This decision was clear based on their E3 presentation, where Kinect wasn’t stressed and rarely mentioned so that the games on display could be given their time in the limelight. He also believes that this choice is better for the developers, “Developers will choose when Kinect is part of the experience and when it’s not, and that’s the way it should be.”

Even with this change in philosophy Phil Spencer still says he is constantly being pitched Kinect games, “I think it’s great because people see it as an outlet for creativity, whether it’s immersion, whether it’s voice integrated in some interesting way, whether it’s gesture,” he said. “I think that the creative conversations I’m having with studios are more about, what is the core of what your game is, and then the studio actually usually comes to me and says, ‘Here’s how Kinect’s going to make that better.’

“In terms of a specific focus to say, ‘Hey, you guys, you have to do something that requires Kinect.’ I’m not doing that. I’m saying you need to go make games that are great. We think Kinect adds functionality to the platform that makes games better, and developers will use that when they think it will make their game better.”

Source: Polygon

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Gunscape joins the ID@Xbox program

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Gunscape is making its way onto Xbox One via the ID@Xbox program. Gunscape can perhaps best be described as a mix of Minecraft, Duke Nukem and Dungeon Keeper. Players can create levels for single player or online play; co-op and competitive multiplayer game types are both available as well. There is a campaign mode and players can even create their own campaign designs utilizing traps, geometry and monsters.

E3 featured a playable demo of the current Gunscape build alongside many other ID@Xbox projects. The indie support and focus on games at E3 has really been a fantastic change of pace from Microsoft’s 2013 approach to E3. Gunscape is scheduled to release for Xbox One one during November of this year.

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Microsoft’s Xbox coverage at E3

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For E3 2014, Microsoft looks to come out stronger than last year, which suffered from an erratic and off-kilter message.  To promote their upcoming games, apps, and platform enhancements, Microsoft has set up the following streaming events to get the word out.

The press conference coverage commences at 9am with a  pre-show streamed on Xbox.com and Xbox Live, consisting of previews and interviews with “development partners and celebrity fans” as they walk the green carpet.   Continuing after the media briefing, the stream will continue on Twitch.tv/Xbox for Xbox: Game On, which is described as a “live, fan-centric ‘post-game show'” where developers will expand on what was seen during the main presentation and take viewer questions.

Microsoft is also offering gamers a chance to attend the Xbox E3 Media Briefing and Post Show.  For the first one hundred people who attend the special event Sunday June 8 from 1-3pm at the Century City Microsoft Store, there will be a raffle with winners being given access to the aforementioned events.  It is not clear how many raffle winners there will be.  Also shown at this event will be a handful of ID@Xbox titles.

Source: Xbox Wire

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Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare announced for Xbox One

Electronic Arts today announced a new title in its Plants vs. Zombies franchise to be released on the Xbox One. Revealed during the publisher’s E3 media briefing, Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare will also see an Xbox 360 release at some point following the Xbox One version’s release. A press release issued by EA following the publisher’s media briefing confirmed a spring 2014 release date for Garden Warfare. The game is being developed by PopCap Games using the Frostbite 3 engine.

EA played the game live during the media briefing, showcasing plants fighting off hordes of zombies in a multiplayer setting. The gameplay was more akin to Gears of Wars’ horde mode than to traditional tower-defense Plants vs. Zombies gameplay. Units shown included a cactus sniper and a flying onion that appeared to be the PopCap’s plant take on a military drone.

According to the press release, Garden Warfare will feature 4-player co-op as well as 24-player competitive multiplayer.

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Minecraft: Xbox One Edition announced

Minecraft will make the jump to the next generation as an Xbox One release, Microsoft announced today at its E3 media briefing. Microsoft Studios Corporate Vice President Phil Spencer made the announcement, promising that Minecraft: Xbox One Edition will have bigger worlds and multiplayer” than does its Xbox 360 predecessor.

That predecessor, Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition, is the most successful game to ever release on Microsoft’s XBLA platform. It has sold in excess of six million copies and been played for over one billion hours since its release in May of 2012.

The Xbox One will release this November. No specific date for Minecraft: Xbox One Edition‘s arrival on the system has been announced.

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Xbox One releasing this November for $499

Xbox One $499

Microsoft will release its next-generation game console, the Xbox One, this November for $500 in North America, the console holder announced today during its E3 media briefing in Los Angeles. The console will also launch in the UK and the remainder of Europe during November, where it will be priced at £430 and €500, respectively. All told, Xbox One will release simultaneously in 21 different markets.

A Day One Edition of the console is currently available for preorder at retailers such as Amazon. A limited edition controller, code to unlock a Day One achievement, premium packaging and a decal are included in the Day One Edition.

Last week it was revealed that Twisted Pixel’s LocoCycle will be an Xbox One launch title.

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Capy Games’ Below announced for Xbox One

Below Xbox One

Capy Games, the studio behind XBLA’s in-development Super Time Force, is developing a new game called Below for the Xbox One, Corporate Vice President of Microsoft Studios Phil Spencer announced today at Microsoft’s E3 press conference. Spencer described the game as a roguelike full of secrets.

Jim Gunthrie was revealed to be Below‘s composer. Gunthrie also handled composition duties on Capy Games’ Superbrothers: Swords and Sorcery.

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Trampled under foot: Ascend: New Gods preview

Ascend: New Gods is an action game. The fact that players take control of gigantic warriors known as Caos that mow through hordes of beasts with magic and melee weapons while trampling the tiny, feeble humans under their feet as a man might a rodent, informs those who pick up the controller of as much. The fact that these towering, stout champions appear before the seemingly indomitable Titans of the game as not but rodents themselves, betrays that there may just be something more to Signal Studios’ game than the repeated mashing of a face button that could effectively get one through the title’s E3 demo.

Although Signal promises that more challenging enemies will turn up later in the game, the demo, while enjoyable, left one wanting to see what other tricks the studio has up its sleeve. Most of the encounters could be won by relying on basic attacks, the repeated swinging of a sword or war hammer until the foe(s) before the Caos were felled. Getting beyond the basic “press X to kill stuff” approach to battles is something that all developers of action games must work to overcome if they are to differentiate their work from that of the competition.

Signal has plans for that. A unique form of multiplayer (more on that shortly) and a slew of challenging beasts that may require a bit more cunning to overcome. “We have tons of different monsters in the game,” Signal Studios Lead Game Designer Ian Scott explained to XBLA Fans at E3. “As you saw, the humans are really small in our game; they’re kind of like rats. You can pick them up and eat them for health, but there’s obviously things that are a lot bigger than you and more badass. Well, I don’t know about necessarily more badass than you.” Scott isn’t sure whether or not the team wants individual non-Titan enemies to be tougher than a Caos, but he asserted that there are definitely enemies that can dole out a walloping.

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E3 Hands-on: Check out the speed-spidering antics in Alien Spidy

Speed running has been around for as long as games with beginnings and endings have. There are some people out there determined to rush through everything in a game, especially platformers, as quickly as possible. Well Alien Spidy takes speed running, fleshes it out a bit, and presents platformer enthusiasts with a skill-based platformer designed to be played at mach speed.

In Alien Spidy, you play as Spidy (imagine that) as he rushes to find the remains of his ship on Earth. He ventured from his home planet to find a friend of his who didn’t return, and ended up crashing on our humble planet. The story is really a mcguffin to get you crawling around this 2D Earth, dodging all manner of hostile flora and fauna. The world is a scary place when you’re a spider. Read the rest of this entry »

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E3 jetpacks-on preview: Hybrid

It’s natural to have questions when playing a game for the first time. Questions like, “So this is Gears of War with jetpacks, right?” for instance. Or perhaps, “Is that guy shooting at me from the ceiling?” Maybe even, “What’s that sou — oh god, is that a cybernetic assassin?!” Gamers who partook in the beta for 5th Cell’s Hybrid already know the answers to those questions. For the uninitiated: no, yes, a cybernetic assassin and see: previous answer.

When a studio that is known and loved for creating a specific type of game — those in the Drawn to Life and Scribblenauts vein, in this case — announces it’s taking that brave leap of faith from the comforts of its nest to attempt a flight towards previously uncharted territory, there can be some trepidation among gamers, perhaps some skepticism, even. Take just one look at 5th Cell’s Summer of Arcade third-person shooter and it’s plain that it is one such departure. Five matches in a noisy convention hall (seriously, Activision, did Black Ops II have to be that loud?) is a sample size too small to categorically abandon all concerns over whether or not the studio has the chops to pull this thing off. However, it is large enough to glean that Hybrid has all the makings of the next XBLA shooter that will keep gamers up until the wee hours of the morning on many occasions. Now might be a good time to start banking up that sick leave at work.

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